You need a family friendly meal, you say? Well, here it is! Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini is not only so easy because it’s made entirely in the slow cooker, it’s also a family favorite comfort food meal!
I believe that every meal should be delicious, no matter how easy or hard it was to prepare. Meal times are meant to be enjoyable times after all. A time to spend with family and catch up on the day.
For that same reason, I believe in creating recipes with minimal ingredients and minimal steps. My hope is that everyone, no matter how busy or stressed, can sit down with a delicious home cooked meal tonight.
This Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini is not only delicious and a family favorite, but needs less than 10 simple ingredients and is prepared entirely in the slow cooker.
How to Make Meatballs in the Slow Cooker
You have the option to brown these up for a few minutes before putting them in the slow cooker if you’d like, but I generally skip this step to save time.
To make the meatballs you’ll soak some panko breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes.
Add to a bowl along with ground turkey, egg and seasoning.
Mix gently with hand and then form into tiny balls (I like ping pong size for this recipe)
Add to slow cooker in a single layer if possible.
Cover with sauce and tomatoes to cook.
Making Pasta in the Slow Cooker
Here are a few tips to making it turn out well:
- Dry pasta will take between 30-40 minutes to cook, given the right ratio of liquid
- Fresh pasta will take 10-15 minutes to cook
- Stay nearby during the time the pasta is cooking, so that you can stir occasionally
- Don’t let it set to long after cooking before serving or it may become overcooked
Do I Have to Use Cream in this Recipe?
I recommend adding some sort of dairy to this recipe. Otherwise the tomato sauce will be very acidic. The cream adds a richness to the sauce and also helps thicken it slightly.
You could also sub for half and half. In a pinch you could even use cream cheese or shredded cheese.
- Make sure to remove the meatballs before you stir in cream (or cheese) and pasta, so that meatballs will not break apart.
- I used McCormick Herb and Garlic Seasoning which contains salt. You could also use a regular Italian seasoning but you will want to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt if it doesn’t have any.
Leftovers can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days and even do well when frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Cheese Tortellini
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 pound ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon herb and garlic seasoning
- 24 oz pasta sauce
- 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (for later)
- 10 oz fresh or dried cheese filled tortellini noodles (for later)
- Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
- Mix together panko and milk and let set for 5 minutes
- Mix meat, panko mixture, egg and seasoning in a medium mixing bowl. Form into tiny balls (bouncy ball size) and place all across bottom of slow cooker
- Carefully add spaghetti sauce and tomatoes
- Do not stir! - Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4 until meat is fully cooked
- Carefully remove meatballs and set aside
- Turn the slow cooker back to high and add the noodles and cream, stir well and add meatballs back on top. Let cook for around 15-20 minutes (or 30-40 minutes for dried tortellini)
- Give it all a little stir and serve with Parmesan cheese if desired
- If using dried instead of fresh tortellini, increase cooking time to 30-40 minutes
- I used McCormick Herb and Garlic Seasoning which contains salt. You could also use a regular Italian seasoning but you will want to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt if it doesn't have any.
- Stir pasta occasionally while cooking
- Feel free to sub ground chicken instead of turkey
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